Authors: Roberto Mezzina, Trieste, Italy
Event: 2012 TheMHS Conference
Subject: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Personal crises taking place within the global crisis contain either the possibility of new solutions or the loss of even the most basic rights. The issue of risk seems to be absorbing and redefining psychiatry, shifting the paradigm of danger into the more general issue of ‘diversity’ which is seen as a threat and not as the challenge of integration. The global crisis underscores the need for a different development model, where human and professional resources present in the community and hospital healthcare services can be freed-up, linking them with personal and micro-contextual resources. Trieste, Italy, is internationally recognised for the process of changing its practice and services from the first closure of a psychiatric hospital in Europe (in 1980) to the present community-based services. It is a WHO Collaborating Centre and considered a sustainable model for service development particularly in the context of economic crisis. Trieste’s innovative community mental health model has moved from a narrow clinical model based on the illness and its treatment to a wider concept that involves the whole person and the social fabric. The struggle for a better service is often connected to an awareness of being a citizen and part of a community. Citizenship is a key concept, bringing with it individual and social transformation, while peer-operated and self-help groups, cultural and gender identity can be seen as different ways of participation in the community.